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  • Billie Jean King: Hi, everyone!

  • (Applause)

  • Thanks, Pat.

  • Thank you!

  • Getting me all wound up, now!

  • (Laughter)

  • Pat Mitchell: Good!

  • You know, when I was watching the video again of the match,

  • you must have felt like the fate of the world's women

  • was on every stroke you took.

  • Were you feeling that?

  • BJK: First of all, Bobby Riggs -- he was the former number one player,

  • he wasn't just some hacker, by the way.

  • He was one of my heroes and I admired him.

  • And that's the reason I beat him, actually, because I respected him.

  • (Laughter)

  • It's true -- my mom and especially my dad always said:

  • "Respect your opponent, and never underestimate them, ever."

  • And he was correct. He was absolutely correct.

  • But I knew it was about social change.

  • And I was really nervous whenever we announced it,

  • and I felt like the whole world was on my shoulders.

  • And I thought, "If I lose, it's going to put women back 50 years, at least."

  • Title IX had just been passed the year before -- June 23, 1972.

  • And women's professional tennis --

  • there were nine of us who signed a one-dollar contract in 1970 --

  • now remember, the match is in '73.

  • So we were only in our third year of having a tour

  • where we could actually play, have a place to compete and make a living.

  • So there were nine of us that signed that one-dollar contract.

  • And our dream was for any girl, born any place in the world --

  • if she was good enough --

  • there would be a place for her to compete and for us to make a living.

  • Because before 1968, we made 14 dollars a day,

  • and we were under the control of organizations.

  • So we really wanted to break away from that.

  • But we knew it wasn't really about our generation so much;

  • we knew it was about the future generations.

  • We do stand on the shoulders of the people that came before us, there is no question.

  • But every generation has the chance to make it better.

  • That was really on my mind.

  • I really wanted to start matching the hearts and minds to Title IX.

  • Title IX, in case anybody doesn't know, which a lot of people probably don't,

  • said that any federal funds given to a high school, college or university,

  • either public or private,

  • had to -- finally -- give equal monies to boys and girls.

  • And that changed everything.

  • (Applause)

  • So you can have a law,

  • but it's changing the hearts and minds to match up with it.

  • That's when it really rocks, totally.

  • So that was on my mind.

  • I wanted to start that change in the hearts and minds.

  • But two things came out of that match.

  • For women: self-confidence, empowerment.

  • They actually had enough nerve to ask for a raise.

  • Some women have waited 10, 15 years to ask.

  • I said, "More importantly, did you get it?"

  • (Laughter)

  • And they did!

  • And for the men?

  • A lot of the men today don't realize it,

  • but if you're in your 50s, 60s or whatever, late 40s,

  • you're the first generation of men of the Women's Movement --

  • whether you like it or not!

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • And for the men,

  • what happened for the men, they'd come up to me --

  • and most times, the men are the ones who have tears in their eyes,

  • it's very interesting.

  • They go, "Billie, I was very young when I saw that match,

  • and now I have a daughter.

  • And I am so happy I saw that as a young man."

  • And one of those young men, at 12 years old, was President Obama.

  • And he actually told me that when I met him, he said:

  • "You don't realize it, but I saw that match at 12.

  • And now I have two daughters,

  • and it has made a difference in how I raise them."

  • So both men and women got a lot out of it, but different things.

  • PM: And now there are generations -- at least one or two --

  • who have experienced the equality

  • that Title IX and other fights along the way made possible.

  • And for women, there are generations who have also experienced teamwork.

  • They got to play team sports in a way they hadn't before.

  • So you had a legacy already built in terms of being an athlete,

  • a legacy of the work you did to lobby for equal pay for women athletes

  • and the Women's Sports Foundation.

  • What now are you looking to accomplish

  • with The Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative?

  • BJK: I think it goes back to an epiphany I had at 12.

  • At 11, I wanted to be the number one tennis player in the world,

  • and a friend had asked me to play and I said, "What's that?"

  • Tennis was not in my family -- basketball was, other sports.

  • Fast forward to 12 years old,

  • (Laughter)

  • and I'm finally starting to play in tournaments

  • where you get a ranking at the end of the year.

  • So I was daydreaming at the Los Angeles Tennis Club,

  • and I started thinking about my sport and how tiny it was,

  • but also that everybody who played wore white shoes, white clothes,

  • played with white balls -- everybody who played was white.

  • And I said to myself, at 12 years old, "Where is everyone else?"

  • And that just kept sticking in my brain.

  • And that moment,

  • I promised myself I'd fight for equal rights and opportunities

  • for boys and girls, men and women, the rest of my life.

  • And that tennis, if I was fortunate enough to become number one --

  • and I knew, being a girl, it would be harder to have influence,

  • already at that age --

  • that I had this platform.

  • And tennis is global.

  • And I thought, "You know what?

  • I've been given an opportunity that very few people have had."

  • I didn't know if I was going to make it -- this was only 12.

  • I sure wanted it, but making it is a whole other discussion.

  • I just remember I promised myself, and I really try to keep my word.

  • That's who I truly am, just fighting for people.

  • And, unfortunately, women have had less.

  • And we are considered less.

  • And so my attentions, where did they have to go?

  • It was just ... you have to.

  • And learn to stick up for yourself, hear your own voice.

  • You hear the same words keep coming out all the time,

  • and I got really lucky because I had an education.

  • And I think if you can see it you can be it, you know?

  • If you can see it, you can be it.

  • You look at Pat, you look at other leaders,

  • you look at these speakers, look at yourself,

  • because everyone --

  • everyone --

  • can do something extraordinary.

  • Every single person.

  • PM: And your story, Billie, has inspired so many women everywhere.

  • Now with the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative,

  • you're taking on an even bigger cause.

  • Because one thing we hear a lot about is women taking their voice,

  • working to find their way into leadership positions.

  • But what you're talking about is even bigger than that.

  • It's inclusive leadership.

  • And this is a generation that has grown up thinking more inclusively --

  • BJK: Isn't it great? Look at the technology!

  • It's amazing how it connects us all! It's about connection.

  • It's simply amazing what's possible because of it.

  • But the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative

  • is really about the workforce mostly, and trying to change it,

  • so people can actually go to work and be their authentic selves.

  • Because most of us have two jobs:

  • One, to fit in -- I'll give you a perfect example.

  • An African American woman gets up an hour earlier to go to work,

  • straightens her hair in the bathroom,

  • goes to the bathroom probably four, five, six times a day

  • to keep straightening her hair, to keep making sure she fits in.

  • So she's working two jobs.

  • She's got this other job, whatever that may be,

  • but she's also trying to fit in.

  • Or this poor man who kept his diploma --

  • he went to University of Michigan,

  • but he never would talk about his poverty as a youngster, ever --

  • just would not mention it.

  • So he made sure they saw he was well-educated.

  • And then you see a gay guy who has an NFL --

  • which means American football for all of you out there,

  • it's a big deal, it's very macho --

  • and he talked about football all the time,

  • because he was gay and he didn't want anybody to know.

  • It just goes on and on.

  • So my wish for everyone is to be able to be their authentic self 24/7,

  • that would be the ultimate.

  • And we catch ourselves -- I mean, I catch myself to this day.

  • Even being gay I catch myself, you know, like,

  • (Gasp)

  • a little uncomfortable, a little surge in my gut,

  • feeling not totally comfortable in my own skin.

  • So, I think you have to ask yourself --

  • I want people to be themselves, whatever that is, just let it be.

  • PM: And the first research the Leadership Initiative did showed that,

  • that these examples you just used --

  • that many of us have the problem of being authentic.

  • But what you've just looked at is this millennial generation,

  • who have benefited from all these equal opportunities --

  • which may not be equal but exist everywhere --

  • BJK: First of all, I'm really lucky.

  • Partnership with Teneo, a strategic company that's amazing.

  • That's really the reason I'm able to do this.

  • I've had two times in my life

  • where I've actually had men really behind me with power.

  • And that was in the old days with Philip Morris with Virginia Slims,

  • and this is the second time in my entire life.

  • And then Deloitte.

  • The one thing I wanted was data -- facts.

  • So Deloitte sent out a survey,

  • and over 4,000 people now have answered,

  • and we're continuing in the workplace.

  • And what do the millennials feel?

  • Well, they feel a lot, but what they're so fantastic about is --

  • you know, our generation was like, "Oh, we're going to get representation."

  • So if you walk into a room, you see everybody represented.

  • That's not good enough anymore, which is so good!

  • So the millennials are fantastic; they want connection, engagement.

  • They just want you to tell us what you're feeling, what you're thinking,

  • and get into the solution.

  • They're problem-solvers,

  • and of course, you've got the information at your fingertips,

  • compared to when I was growing up.

  • PM: What did the research show you about millennials?

  • Are they going to make a difference?

  • Are they going to create a world where there is really an inclusive work force?

  • BJK: Well, in 2025, 75 percent of the global workforce

  • is going to be millennials.

  • I think they are going to help solve problems.

  • I think they have the wherewithal to do it.

  • I know they care a lot.

  • They have big ideas and they can make big things happen.

  • I want to stay in the now with the young people,

  • I don't want to get behind.

  • (Laughter)

  • PM: I don't think there's any chance!

  • But what you found out in the research about millennials

  • is not really the experience that a lot of people have with millennials.

  • BJK: No, well, if we want to talk -- OK, I've been doing my little mini-survey.

  • I've been talking to the Boomers, who are their bosses, and I go,

  • "What do you think about the millennials?"

  • And I'm pretty excited, like it's good,

  • and they get this face --

  • (Laughter)

  • "Oh, you mean the 'Me' generation?"

  • (Laughter)

  • I say, "Do you really think so?

  • Because I do think they care about the environment

  • and all these things."

  • And they go, "Oh, Billie, they cannot focus."

  • (Laughter)

  • They actually have proven

  • that the average focus for an 18-year-old is 37 seconds.

  • (Laughter)

  • They can't focus.

  • And they don't really care.

  • I just heard a story the other night:

  • a woman owns a gallery and she has these workers.

  • She gets a text from one of the workers,

  • like an intern, she's just starting -- she goes,

  • "Oh, by the way, I'm going to be late because I'm at the hairdresser's."

  • (Laughter)

  • So she arrives, and this boss says,

  • "What's going on?"

  • And she says, "Oh, I was late, sorry, how's it going?"

  • She says, "Well, guess what? I'd like you leave, you're finished."

  • She goes, "OK."

  • (Laughter)

  • No problem!

  • PM